If you are one of those BRAVE mommies boldly going where few of us moms dare, otherwise known as attempting to be camp counselor and activities director of your very own CAMP MOMMY then you’re going to need a bit of help keeping those “campers of yours entertained”. If they’re anything like min, they’re prone to getting bored pretty quickly regardless of how much kiddie paraphernalia I roll out for them and really; how many times can they watch the same episodes of Regular Show… okay– I just asked my son and he told me- she could watch Cartoon Network all day long!
Still one of the quite lovely things about summer is the unstructured play time that our kids can reap during these months where they’re free to keep their minds completely devoid of any arithmetic problems and should only fill it with stress-free pursuits. Yet according to National Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University, students will lose upwards of two months of grade level equivalency in skills over the summer months if they aren’t reading or partaking in educational activities during their summer break.
So what’s a parent- who is jockeying for her kid’s admission into a top level nursery school to do? I’m probably the wrong parent to ask, because my motto is that kids only get a shot a childhood once- and far be it from me to rob mine of this precious time- when they should feel unencumbered and free to spend hours coloring, hosting an action figure fest or just chillin on the couch with… a bowl of freshly watermelon..
NO I am not trying to raise the next generation of slackers and COMPLETELY value and respect those parents who believe that summer activities should include an educational component to them. But by the same token I also feel that my kids deserve a break from hitting the books- and so for us- summer is most importantly about hanging in the sun and being silly. This translates into; water gun fights, making orange juice ice pops- and going for long walks- and if they’re amenable to it- throwing in a few work books- or trying to insert an educational component to fun hands-on activities. The way I see it- my kids are facing a lifetime of paying their mortgage, health insurance and going to work… these summers and the opportunity to blow bubbles endlessly are fleeting- and so I feel it is incumbent on me as a aren’t to give me as many of these experiences as possible.
Of course– READING is not considered worky or academic in our house- so yes- we also do a Lot of reading!!
So Camp Mommyers you’re going to need to bring in the heavy artillery to keep them entertained until school starts and here are some ideas, to help you get started!
Check out the Summer Nature Staycation Planning Guide at naturerocks.org which provides parents with a useful tool to plan a range of close-to-home activities, complete with great starter ideas and suggestions for families to use during their summer holiday. The Guide has been developed to be helpful to all families across the country – regardless of where they live, their kids’ ages, time available, or familiarity with nature, or if they want to do an activity outside or bring nature indoors.
Kim Carlson, eco-expert business owner, author and founder of EarthSmart Certified Sustainable Product Standard, is offering simple ways to enjoy the warm weather while carrying out some green practices.
Â Go Hiking – It’s good exercise for the body and getting out in nature is a terrific stress reliever. As long as you follow the rule of “leave no trace.” The only footprint you’ll leave behind is a harmless one.
Â Take a Bike Ride – Bicycling has obvious leg and cardio benefits but it is also a petro and emissions free way to see some new sights. Remember to wear a helmet and follow traffic rules.
Grow Your Own – Organic gardening will bring you back to nature by giving you some mild exercise by bending, kneeling and digging. It is also a non-toxic way to raise your own veggies, herbs and flowers.
Â Sponsor a Scavenger Hunt – Make it a green hunt by hiding earth-friendly prizes. It will help teach kids about the fun of being outside and give them an idea of what green means.
Â Organic Picnic – Make an all organic lunch or dinner and eat it outside in the grass on an organic cotton throw. Don’t forget to use to-go ware utensils, basket/reusable bag and cloth napkins!Â www.earthsmartconsumer.com
Lynn Brunelle, a four-time Emmy Award-winning writer for “Bill Nye the Science Guy” and author of the popular activity books Pop Bottle Science and Camp Out!, has a talent for presenting science in an engaging, interactive and accessible way. In her books, she provides a wealth of activities that spark a child’s interest in the great outdoors and how the world works. These are fun, practical, and affordable activities that can easily be recreated at home. Let your backyard be your summer camp mommy experience!! A backyard can be a classroom of wonders, and a public park can be a science lab–just make sure to have the right tools. Go out and get a copy of this book Camp Out! to check out some of her most fabulous projects…
Â Make an awesome t-shirt while learning about chlorophyll
Gather fresh leaves and ferns to make a Fern Smash T-Shirt. Just cover, hammer, dry and wear your leafy creation! It’s a smash! (p. 288)
Learn about ancient cultures
Draw Pictographs on rocks (p. 260) or create a Berry Ink Winter Count, recording the best moments of your family’s camping trip. (p. 266)
Â Learn how to tell time
Make a Stick-in-the-Mud Sun Clock (p. 250) or a Fast-Food Sundial. (p. 254)
Cook with solar energy
Construct a Pizza Box Solar Oven and bake a pizza in it. (p. 83)
Sleep Under the Stars
Go outside, look and listen. Then make a no-sew sleep sack, spot constellations and sleep under the stars. (p. 38)
Discover nature’s hitchhikers
Put socks on over your boots, observe the seeds that tag along for the ride and sprout them. (p. 234)
And of course if you’re stuck inside your kids can log onto a pretty great site called; Habitat Heroes; an interactive website for kids in which they learn as they play about global environmental issues. Sharon Lowe, the creator of Habitat Heroes, came up with the idea while trying to find kid-appropriate websites for her daughter to visit.
Good luck with your Camp Mommying this summer and stay tuned for more activities and ideas to keep the kiddies entertained. I’m curious though- what is your take on the summer homework issue; to mandate or not when it comes to your kids- Please share!